Hardware Old Thermal Paste


TS Rookie
Hey everyone,
I recently received an old desktop which I am in the process of upgrading, however it clearly has not been serviced in years (dust covering everything, which I have cleaned off with a soft paintbrush) I have switched to an SSD, have ordered a new case, am waiting for a PSU I've had my eye on to come back in stock, and saving for an RX590. My main reason for this post is that when I removed the CPU cooler to dust in there the old thermal paste had completely dried out and gone solid. Is this okay or should I replace it with some new thermal paste? Any help much appreciated for a noob builder, thanks in advance :p


TS Evangelist
Staff member
Definitely replace it: thermal paste is only effective when liquid or liquid-like.

Cycloid Torus

Stone age computing - click on the rock below..
I use 90% isopropyl alcohol on a q-tip to soften and then remove the dried crud on both the top of the CPU and the bottom of the heatsink. Take your time - do not scrape with anything that could scratch either surface. Buy a good quality thermal paste like Arctic Silver Ceramique (non-conductive). Use a pea size amount in center of CPU and let heatsink squash it by tightening the attachment. This forces the air out without trapping bubbles - giving best interface between the materials. Keep the rest of the thermal paste for future use, which is anytime you take the heatsink off.